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Posts for tag: neuromas

Golf has often been called a good walk ruined, but golf involves so much more than walking. The demands of golf on your feet are like no other sport. During most activities, your feet are either moving forward in a steady gait or side-to-side with quick cuts and sudden direction changes. A golf swing is a unique blend of passive and active motions that both strain and twist the feet, causing a variety of problems.

Shin Splints

Shin splints occur when the stress of walking or running slowly tears muscle away from the bone. It is a painful condition that is all too often ignored. Shin splints can be brought on by starting with too much exercise too fast, changing from flat to hilly terrains, exercising without stretching, and playing in worn out or unsupportive shoes. Because bones, muscles, and ligaments are involved in this injury, it is important not to “play through the pain.” Give yourself a rest, use RICE at home, and if your shin splints return, come see a podiatrist immediately.

READ MORE: Don't Let Shin Splints Halt Your Exercise

Plantar Fasciitis

Characterized by heel and arch pain, plantar fasciitis is a condition affecting the band of tissue across the bottom of your foot that connects your toes to your heel and supports your arch. In other words, it’s important. Repeated stress on the plantar fascia may result in small ligament tears. Most people will experience this pain first thing in the morning as they are getting out of bed. Your podiatrist can create a custom plan with you that involves tapings, arch supports, stretches, and strengthening exercises.

READ MORE: What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and connects your heel to your calf muscle. It needs a certain degree of flexibility for an effective and proper golf swing. Repeating the same swing over and over again with a tight Achilles tendon can lead to damage and pain. Overuse injuries are the most common foot and ankle injuries in golf. Be sure to stretch before each game and wear supportive shoes.

Neuromas

If it feels like there’s a pebble constantly underfoot, you most likely have a Morton’s neuroma. This is caused by a thickening of the tissue around a nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes. Golfers may experience tingling, pain, or numbness in this area which can throw off balance and concentration. Wearing tight footwear that leaves little toe room can contribute to a neuroma.

READ MORE: Neuromas

Hallux Rigidus

Your balance can be thrown off significantly if you suffer from hallux rigidus, a stiffening of the big toe. At first, this may be minor, but as the condition worsens, you will experience pain, loss of balance, and even difficulty walking. After all, the big toe takes about 40% of the weight load when you walk and is the last part to push off from the ground. Non-surgical solutions are available if this condition is caught early. Wear properly fitting shoes and get to the podiatrist at the first sign of a stiff big toe.

Foot and ankle injuries in golf are more common than you know. Golfers who don’t stretch, don’t wear proper footwear, and don’t have a proper golf swing, could be putting themselves at risk of any number of foot ailments. Get training from a professional to ensure your golf swing isn’t damaging your feet.

    Have you ever taken off your shoe, thinking there was a pebble inside, only to find nothing? You may be experiencing the effects of a neuroma. Morton’s neuroma is the term for a thickening of the tissue around the nerve between the third and fourth toes. It can be painful and lead to permanent damage if left untreated.

    Symptoms of a Morton’s neuroma include sharp, burning pain in the ball of the foot and a stinging or numb feeling in the toes. Symptoms show up only occasionally at first but will increase in intensity and become more persistent as the condition worsens. Over time, the tissue will thicken to the point where you may lose feeling in those toes.

    As with many foot ailments, the causes are easily brought on by improper footwear. High heels that squeeze the toes together can lead to Morton’s neuroma. Some sports featuring tight footwear such as rock climbing, ballet, and skiing have been linked to neuroma development.

READ MORE: Shoes for the Activities We Love

Neuromas are also more likely to occur in those with high arches, flat feet, bunions, hammertoes, or other foot deformities. Your podiatrist will likely take x-rays to rule out other causes of pain (such as stress fractures) or perform an ultrasound to see what’s happening in your soft tissues.

    If caught early, many patients can stop their pain and reverse the effects of a neuroma. Step one is to get the proper footwear. Choose shoes with a wide toe-box. If you must wear heels, try a wedge or a lower heel height. Make sure you relieve any pressure on your toes occasionally if you wear tight shoes throughout the day. Padding your shoes and adding arch supports can help along with over-the-counter pain relievers and corticosteroid injections. If the condition has been allowed to progress too far, surgery to loosen the tendon holding the toes or a complete removal of the affected nerve may be necessary, though this only occurs in approximately 20% of cases.

    Morton’s neuroma is a common foot ailment that is easy to avoid and treat with a little bit of attention and the right shoes. If you feel as if you are constantly walking on a fold in your sock or a stone in your shoe, call your podiatrist to make an appointment today. Those pains aren’t just in your head; they’re in your foot! And we can help you with that.

Last Sunday brought us the most glamorous award show of the season, the Academy Awards. Glittering dresses, tailored tuxes, and some of the world’s most beautiful people dazzled on the television screen. Most of us would give anything to be one of those lucky ladies walking the red carpet. But while their faces remain calm and poised, their feet are screaming in pain. I don’t care who you are; every woman knows that high heels are bad for your feet. We hear it all the time (especially from our podiatrists), but what do they actually do to us? Why are they painful? Are there designs that are better than others?

 

Let’s get one thing straight; pain is never normal. Over 71% of women say that high heels cause them discomfort, but 38% of these women say they would wear them anyways if they look cute. Our feet were never designed to wear the constricting, sky-high styles of today’s modern culture. Heels over two inches in height put immense pressure on the metatarsal (the bone just behind your toes). This pressure can cause lasting nerve damage and a condition called Morton’s Neuroma. Imagine always feeling like there is a pebble right under the ball of your foot…. that’s Morton’s Neuroma. Surgery can correct this condition, but who needs that when we can avoid this condition just by choosing a different pair of shoes?

READ MORE: Neuromas

 

Perhaps the most common foot problem associated with high heels is bunions. We take our five beautifully spaced toes and cram them into a space barely half their size causing permanent damage from the misalignment of our bones. The big toe slowly turns toward the other toes and causes a painful bump on the bone.  Every time you put on a shoe that rubs this bump (aka, every time you put on a high heel) the pain persists and worsens. On top of that, the crossing of our first and second toes means we can expect corns and calluses.

READ MORE: Bunions

So, let’s talk about your Achilles tendon. This is the tendon that connects your heel to your calf muscle. It’s long and it’s important and long-term wearing of high heals damages it significantly. Achilles tendonitis is a common injury of athletes, and while wearing high heels might feel like an Olympic sport sometimes, it shouldn’t be causing us injury. Prolonged wearing of heels shortens the tendon, so when we wear any other type of shoe our tendon works harder to stretch and is more likely to sprain. 

Now, does any of the above sound like fun? Is permanent damage to our feet worth the extra inch of the newest stilettos?  The good news is, there are many easy ways to avoid these injuries and still look good in our favorite heels.

First of all, spend less time walking in heels. Wear a different pair of shoes to and from wherever you are going. Save the pencil thin heels for a very special occasion. How you choose and what heels you choose can have a major impact on foot comfort and health. Make sure you try them on and actually walk around in them. Your feet should know pretty quickly if they aren’t the right heels for you. When choosing heel height, the Huffington Post offers some good advice, “Take the high heel test: Stand on the floor in your shoes with your knees straight, but not locked. Try to raise yourself on your toes so there's at least an inch of space under the heels. If this is not possible, your heels are too high and not appropriate for you.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacy-barrows/high-heels-comfort_b_1945299.html). Make sure the heel width is appropriate as well. If you waddle like a baby just learning to walk when you wear a stiletto, then don’t buy it. Choose something with some support, a wider heel means more surface area for balance. A platform under the toe box on the shoe usually adds some extra cushion and can take pressure off the metatarsal. This is the same reason wedges feel better, more cushion.

I don’t think there will ever come a day when women stop wearing high heels, but we can protect our feet with our choices. Make those choices good ones and if in doubt, talk to your podiatrist; they’ll know what is and isn’t good or you.

 

Can “carrying a watermelon” cause a neuroma?

Jennifer Gray, former star of Dirty Dancing, and formerly a contestant of Dancing with the Stars, mentioned last season that she has a neuroma.  A neuroma is a benign nerve enlargement, most often found in the peripheral nerves of the foot.  Since nerves travel in very tight spaces in your feet, they are prone to being pressed against the bones, which cause irritation and inflammation.  Wearing tight shoes, shoes with heels, or any abnormal repetitive stress can cause a neuroma. 

The most common symptoms of a neuroma are burning/tingling pain in the ball of the foot, numbness in the toes, a feeling that there is a “stone” in your shoe or a wrinkled sock, or a painful lump that is painful with touch.  Fortunately, neuromas can usually be treated without surgery.  Treatment can include a series of small, relatively pain-free injections that reduce the nerve to its regular size, offloading the ball of the foot, medication, or even changes in shoes.  Certain diagnostic test can help diagnose a neuroma, but are usually not needed.

Even if you’re not a professional dancer, a neuroma can be a very painful condition, and is usually treated quite easily.  Often the earlier you seek treatment, the more likelihood of success with conservative measures.  At the Foot & Ankle Wellness Center, we are well equipped to handle your neuroma pain, and any other foot or ankle condition.  Remember, foot pain is NOT normal, and you should never have to live with it!